Dear Dad,

I miss you still. Some days without you are harder than others. Most are lovely now, slipping away quietly in the everyday nothings, like pearls from a string. Each with its own soft shine. But there are some that still just hurt.

Lydia’s first choir concert last year made my heart ache until bursting. Remembering looking out from the risers myself, and seeing your beaming face next to Mom’s was everything to me. I always sang for you, Dad. The moment she spotted us in the audience, and that sweet grin broke across her face, I knew how you felt sitting in the audience all those years.

Audrey’s first volleyball game was another moment. Seeing the smallest kid on the court get a serve over the net brought to mind all of your coaching at my sisters’ games, and how proud you were of them no matter how the game went.

You know Durin surpassed me in height this year, right? Well, he did. And he is growing into a young man I know you would be proud of. He tries so very hard to do what’s right, and he is pretty unforgiving of himself when he makes the smallest mistakes. And I now know how hard it was for you to get us girls to really see ourselves as valuable, precious, and pleasing to God even in our struggles.

And then there’s Dain. My little boy who just wants to be with the ones he loves. He doesn’t care what the activity is. He just wants to be with me. LIke you. I see you in his love languages, Dad, and it makes me miss you. He is tender and sweet, and I think that someday he just might take after you in his ten

der lovingkindness. Right now, he’s a bit of a pill as a little boy, but I guess you probably were too. I wish I could send him down to the river with his dog and some army men. He really belongs in the country.

How did you do it, Dad? How did you set the bar so high for us, then show us that doing our best was enough, even if we didn’t quite reach the standard all the time? I wish you were here to guide me in raising my sons. I don’t know how boys become men, and I am doing my best. I wish so much that I could call you.

It’s been five years today, and I didn’t expect it to hurt this badly. But it does. It really, really hurts.

I love you, Daddy. And I miss being your Sunshine. But I am so grateful I got to know you as an adult. That we got to be friends before you left. Too many people don’t even have that. What a gift I was given in you, Dad. I don’t want to take it for granted or waste what you have given me. And I still desire, with every fiber of my being, to live up to the standards you set for me.

I find your words coming out of my mouth to my children all the time. Especially when I dust off a good old-fashioned lecture. (No. 42b, paragraph 7 is particularly effective. 😉 ) If I can be half the parent you were to me, my kids will be okay. And I wish you were here to help me.

I know you won’t see these words, Dad, but I can’t help but say them. Maybe God will pass on the message.

I love you still, Daddy.

Always Your Sunshine,

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